Arsenal will look to continue their reinvigorated bid to enter the race for the Premier League title on Saturday evening as they face a Chelsea side who look to have teething problems under Antonio Conte.
Despite a disastrous start in the defeat to Liverpool, the Gunners have steadied what was a rocking ship with victories over Watford, Southampton and Hull.
At the heart of these commanding victories was Laurent Koscielny, who missed the opening day loss to the Reds. This is no indirect criticism towards the young pairing of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers – far from it – but Koscielny provides a wealth of experience that is unrivalled throughout most teams in the English top flight, let alone the defenders at Arsenal.
The Frenchman made a strong return against defending Premier League champions Leicester City and has looked more assured than ever before despite advancing into his thirties, scoring a stunning overhead kick against Southampton.
John Terry, on the other hand, has been a constant in Conte’s starting eleven’s since the Italian’s arrival in the summer.
Approaching what could be his final year with the London outfit, Terry has proved why team-mate Gary Cahill needs the presence of his reliable partner at centre-back in order to operate at his maximum best.
Chelsea, unlike Arsenal, enjoyed a successful start with West Ham, Watford and Burnley, but barely managed to achieve a draw with perennial strugglers Swansea before succumbing to defeat against Liverpool, who look strong against difficult opposition this season.
With Koscielny and Terry arguably being the most influential defenders at their respective clubs, we have compared them using Squawka’s Comparison Matrix ahead of the gargantuan clash in two days time.
Both players are yet to win many tackles this season according to Squawka, but Koscielny edges to a narrow win, as he also does in terms of total duels.
However, as we all know Terry is one of the league’s biggest physical threats in the air, and that shows as he comprehensively defeats Koscielny in this department.
Elsewhere, Koscielny is proved to be the stronger defender throughout his overall game in 2016/17, with the 31-year-old’s interceptions, blocks and clearances also statistically higher than his opponent’s ahead of Saturday night’s clash.
Despite Terry winning more fouls for his club than Koscielny, we believe it is fair to say that the Gunners star has proved himself to be a complete defender, and is a man who can still play a crucial role as Arsene Wenger’s side look to win the title for the first time since 2004.
With Kurt Zouma to return later on in the season, Terry will be cautiously looking over his shoulder. Andreas Christensen has also been pulling up trees on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach, and will be a superior centre-back to Terry next season should he return to Stamford Bridge.
For now, we can expect to see Koscielny’s side outperform the Blues on Saturday, thanks to a wonderful array of attacking options which include the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Lucas Perez.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.